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How to Choose a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gym

how often should you train jiu jitsu

How to Find a Good Jiu Jitsu Gym

Looking for how to find a good jiu jitsu gym? Some key things to consider are:

  • is the gym competition focused?
  • amount of members
  • is it gi or nogi focused or both?
  • how many high level practitioners train there?
  • is the lineage of the head instructor legitimate
  • are they only jiu jitsu focus or do they offer other classes
  • travel distance from your home to the gym
  • cost of membership
  • are certain jiu jitsu belts only allowed to roll with others of the same belt
  • does the class schedule work with your own personal schedule
  • what is the gym culture like

These factors and others will help you narrow down if the gym is legit and if it’s one of the best bjj schools in the area.

Choosing a gym is potentially a huge investment in both time and money. So it’s important to look at some of these obvious factors as well as some of the lesser known ones.

Ultimately, they want your money and they want you to join, but you should be stern when evaluating a gym since they have a huge influence on how enjoyable your training will be and potentially how long you will stay in the martial art.

Related: Want to find out how often you should train after finding your gym? Click here

How to Choose a BJJ Gym

Below are the repeated list of factors to look at when considering how to choose a bjj gym:

  • is it competition focused?
  • amount of members
  • is it gi or nogi focused or both?
  • how many high level practitioners train there?
  • is the lineage of the head instructor legitimate
  • are they only jiu jitsu focus or do they offer other classes
  • travel distance from your home to the gym
  • cost of membership
  • are certain jiu jitsu belts only allowed to roll with others of the same belt
  • does the class schedule work with your own personal schedule
  • what is the gym culture like

Some of these things you can find out before going to your first class, but there are some things that you will learn after visiting the gym itself that will definitely be a factor when considering how to choose a bjj gym.

One of the main things to learn which can be more nuanced is:    
What is the gym culture like?

This is largely created by the head instructor, other coaches, and more experienced members.

     Some examples that may effect gym culture are: 

  •         Is the gym more mellow or more strict and traditional? 
  •         Do they mind if you show up late or leave early? 
  •         Do they expect you to train as often as possible?
  •         Do they welcome hobbyists or people who only train once or twice a week?
  •         Do they welcome all members regardless of age, sex, experience, and athleticism?
  •         Does the head instructor and other coaches openly roll with all members?
  •         Are the coaches friendly and accessible?
  •         Do you feel welcomed when entering the gym?
  •         Do they welcome newcomers and provide frequent beginners classes?
  •         How invested are the coaches? Do they actively want to see all of their students succeed?
  •         Does the head instructor or coaches have favorites among the members?
  •         Do you feel comfortable there?
  •         Are members friendly and patient and generally happy when training there?
  •         Do you feel safe when sparring with partners?
  •         Do they have many higher belts and skillful members?
  •         Do you find their sales pitch reasonable

   Overall, bjj gyms are in the business of making money off of their members.

Therefore, they may not always have your best interest in mind so its important for you to take your time and sit back and consider many of these questions and factors.

The instructors have a large affect on these factors and on the culture of a gym. So lets take a further look at instructors and consider the question: “how much do bjj instructors make”.

Best BJJ Schools

   The best bjj schools will be the ones who are strongly invested in the growth of their students as opposed to just the growth of their wallet.

Some of the best bjj schools and reputable ones are listed below.  

Keep in mind that some of these are franchises and the quality of each location will depend highly on the head instructor of that specific location:

  • Renzo Gracie (NYC)
  • B Team Jiu Jitsu (Austin)
  • 10th Planet (San Diego)(I’m biased ok)
  • Gracie University (Torrance)
  • Atos (San Diego)
  • Checkmat BJJ (Austin)
  • Marcelo Garcia (NYC)
  • Fifty/50 Martial arts (Northern VA)
  • University of Jiu Jitsu (San Diego)
  • Art of Jiu Jitsu (Costa Mesa)
  • Six Blades (Austin)

These represent some of the best bjj schools as well as some of the most popular ones. 

How Much Do BJJ Instructors Make?

How much do instructors make?

Depending on the bjj gym’s business model and the experience and accolades of the instructor, this can vary widely. There are also different types of lessons to consider.

From our research below is a small table that breakdown some of these average figures:

  • Teaching an adult class – $70-125
  • Teaching a kid’s class – $70-$125
  • Teach a private lesson – $35-$100/per hour

These numbers will obviously change when considering if the instructor is also a gym owner.

A bjj gym owner is expected to make anywhere from $40k/year to $100k/year depending on location, size of membership, reputation, and other business related factors like overhead costs.

How Much Does a BJJ Membership Cost?

   How much does a bjj membership cost? On average a monthly membership can cost anywhere from $70-$200 per month depending on the location, instructors, reputation, and quality of instruction. 

Typically, many gyms do not list the cost of their membership on their websites or on any social media which makes it difficult when trying to find out how much bjj membership costs.

Unfortunately, many only reveal these numbers after your first trial class during their sales pitch.

This is likely a sales tactic, but the above figures should give you a wide range of numbers to be prepared for.

Conclusion – So, How to Choose a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gym​ That Fits You

Consider what you are looking for in a gym, what your goals are, at what level you want to train- hobbyist or full time.

There are many things to keep in mind, and there certainly is a reason why specific gyms are considered some of the best bjj schools.

It is important to consider the objective facts like distance to the gym, cost, class schedule, and instructors lineage. However, only after going to your first class will you be able to examine the gym further and consider the gym culture. 

This is something that is priceless since it will likely be the largest factor in how enjoyable your training is and how far you will go within the sport.

So take your time when choosing a bjj gym and hopefully you’ll find one that fits your needs and gives you many years of happy training.

Thanks for reading and see you on the mats!